In lieu of recent conversations around Ash Two, and several other upcoming drops by Pak, we thought it as good a time as ever to share another interview we shot back at this year’s Eth Denver with one of our esteemed DAO members; Silver Surfer. Having self-proclaimed himself “Pak’s intern” for some time, Silver Surfer is well known to be one of, if not the biggest, collector of Pak’s work. Being both a blue-chip collector and a top tier builder in the space, currently leading the time at dontbuymeme.com– Silver Surfer is a multidimensional leader in the Web3 space and we’re excited to share some of his insights with you in this interview:
David Cash: Hello, welcome back to NFTS.WTF! My name is David Cash, editor in chief, and we are back with our favourite NFT artist. Today, we are talking to Silver Surfer who is actually a member of our Dao. Finally getting some camera time and some FaceTime with some of the Dao members – I’m very excited about that. We’re here of course, at ETH Denver. How’s the week been going for you so far and what are you excited about?
Silver Surfer: I’m just excited to really just talk to all the different people from Ethereum to really just talk to everyone. Just meet new people, hang around really smart people and get a lot of work done while I’m here. That’s my main focus.
David Cash: Absolutely. It does almost feel like a little bit of a college campus for everybody. Like you see everybody running their businesses and living in hotel lobbies.
Silver Surfer: Everyone has something in the shill.
David Cash: Totally.
Silver Surfer: Yeah. And a lot of it’s like, oh, this isn’t very good. And I wouldn’t invest in this, but you know good for you.
David Cash: Totally! So I know that maybe you haven’t been to ETH Denver a million times, but you’ve been in the space for a while and you’ve definitely seen a lot of projects come through. I know that a lot of people are saying this year, it’s really busy. It feels very noisy. What are your opinions on where we’re at right now in the space? Maybe just from being here for the past couple of days? I know you said you’ve seen some bad projects.
Silver Surfer: I mean, there’s a lot of people, there’s bad projects and a lot of people just talking about maybe bad things about good projects, it’s like, you know, people attacking other people. And I guess that’s just how it goes. I guess what I’m most excited really for the space is just to see Web3 grow and where it takes us. I think NFTs is very early, Metaverse, you know, also very early and all this stuff has tons of power that could really change the world. So it’ll be interesting to see where we are with Web3 in like two to three years, once things can really scale once you get a billion users into the NFT space. And then see like, okay, what it looks like then.
David Cash: We’re still entering the rabbit hole. It’s like, everybody’s trying to grab a piece of the pie. It’s quite interesting.
Silver Surfer: Everyone’s trying to grab a piece of the pie, but they’re doing it in an incorrect way, I think. And, and they’re like competing with each other, but they’re not like innovating. So like every other marketplace does the same thing.
David Cash: You can put a random name generator and just come up with a company.
Silver Surfer: Exactly. As, as a collector for like the past, you know, two years in NFTs, I’m like, I’m getting pretty bored. Right? And it’s like, everyone’s just selling JPEGs. And I’m like, okay. It’s why I took over the meme protocol. It’s like, okay, I’m bored as a collector. I want to have fun in the space. I have some ideas to fix a lot of the problems that I see. So that’s all memes has been about is like trying to push the space forward and really innovate. And we actually launch the meme platform next month on the Phantom network.
David Cash: Awesome! We’re doing Solana. I love it!
Silver Surfer: Solana. So the reason why I went with Phantom is it was actually a chain I found many years ago. And it was, you know, Andre Croney’s protocol. Something he was working on. And at the time he wasn’t building DeFi, he was just this amazing guy trying to build for community. So I’m like, okay, this is an interesting project. And then it turns out three years later, I’m about to go, you know, actually launch a project that I knew would be successful three years ago. Right? And, and it’s actually, you know, the other interesting thing about Phantom is the TVL for it is – they’re in fifth place. So they have 7 billion on-chain. And number two is only at 14 billion. They have more TVL than polygon and Solana. They’re becoming a very successful chain and I’m making a bet that like, they’re going to be the DeFi chain and I’m bringing meme to that chain. I think we can actually legitimatize, you know, NFTs on an L2 and be one of the first marketplaces to do that.
David Cash: I’m definitely gonna pick your brain about that late. I’m writing, I’m writing a book, trying to see every single process of minting NFTs on chains. So every different chain, because it’s, it’s not gonna be just ETH, you know, it can’t, can’t be just ETH.
Silver Surfer: It can’t be because the average person on the street probably doesn’t have more than a thousand dollars to invest into anything. Right?
David Cash: Let alone $200 to pay the gas fee.
Silver Surfer: Exactly. Yeah. So, you have a thousand dollars, you’re paying $200 for a gas fee and then you’re gonna pay like, you know, 50-100 just to sell the thing or to list it. So you have, make sure like, whatever NFT you’re buying, it’s an actual good investment and there are tons of rugs. So it’s like, imagine you’re a new user, you have a thousand dollars, you lose it on your first bet.
David Cash: And then you never wanna come back.
Silver Surfer: And I’m not to say like, like NFTs just cost too much for the average person. And I think a lot of people just live in a bubble and think, okay, because we’ve been in crypto for very long, you know, this is how it should be. You know, if you have a spouse or a girlfriend, boyfriend, whatever, like, you know, and they haven’t had crypto like they haven’t bought into crypto. The easiest thing to do is to get out of that bubble, “okay, I’ll send you a thousand dollars, get into this space,” and then watch them try. Right? And then have them go on Uniswap and once they see like the fees, they’re thinking, “Oh crap.” It’s like “I’m used to this,” but everyone else isn’t and it’s absurd.
David Cash: Yeah. I go through the process in like a couple of seconds because we do it almost every day.
Silver Surfer: It’s like – you know, it’s crazy. You know, we’ll spend like hundreds of dollars on gas fees and we don’t think about it. So that’s the reason why we’re going to Phantom. I wanna make sure that like we can actually provide NFTs at a much lower cost for anyone to come into this space. That’s the goal for me.
David Cash: That’s excellent! A lot of things I wanna talk to you about, but let’s take a step back as well for your context in the space for anybody who might not know. I think the interesting thing for me that I found here is there are a lot of NFT people, but there are also a lot of non-NFT people and it’s interesting to even see. There are so many DAOS and things that are completely non-NFT related. I’m like, “oh wow.” But you’ve definitely been in NFT space for a moment. I’m wondering if you had a background in crypto before, I’m just kind of curious, how’d you enter the space?
Silver Surfer: I’ll go through my whole background. I got into, uh, crypto very early in 2012. I got into Bitcoin. I was a huge Bitcoin maxi and at the time, you know, you would see Ethereum had its ICO and then all the Bitcoiners would hate on it. Bitcoin is kind of like a religion. I believed it. Like,” anything else other than Bitcoin’s a scam.” And they still believe that. That’s one of the reasons why I don’t like Bitcoin because it’s too religious in the sense that like everything else is a scam.
So one of my friends, who was a mentor for me at the time, was like, “Chris, you have to check out Ethereum.” I’m like, “okay.” Actually, let me back up a little bit – I actually checked out Ethereum, you go on the website. I think it was called the final frontier or it was like cowboy wild west theme. There were warnings all over the site that, “if you use this, you can lose your money,” And I was a new user. Right? The wallet was all on like – I think parody was just command line at the time. You had to use command line. Or maybe there were other gooey wallets that I didn’t know about. But like at the time it was, “oh, they’re warning you not to use it.” So, I’m not gonna use it.
So I was like, okay, the Bitcoins are right. It is a scam. If they’re saying you could lose on themselves. Then I go back to Bitcoin, and then there’s the DAO hack. That further revalidated the thought that Ethereum is a scam and then like they rolled back or they forked the chain so they can like rollback the transaction of this hack. Then again, all the Bitcoins were like, “we told you it’s a scam,” and it’s like, “yes.” Finally, one of my friends told me, “no, you really need to look at Ethereum.: And then I did. And instantly when I compared it to Microsoft as an operating system and Ethereum being an operating system on top of Web2. I was like, “oh wow.” People are actually going to build apps with programmable money. This is what’s next. Not like Bitcoin couldn’t innovate. It couldn’t do what Ethereum was trying to do.
They keep trying and they keep failing. But, I immediately understood like, “okay, Ethereum’s it.” Then I went all-in on Ethereum and that was awesome. But then, you know, then the 2018 bear market hit and Ethereum was very close to flipping Bitcoin. I think it got to like that 80% ratio and then the bear market hit and then Bitcoin starts to outperform Ethereum and then all the Bitcoiners just hate on it. You have to hold your position. And at the time, like 2017, 2018, there weren’t really any adapts to use and there wasn’t DeFi. There was some DeFi, but it was very early for DeFi I think MakerDAO just started around that time. It was very early building blocks for DeFi, but no one was actually using Ethereum, but I still believed in it and I held through it and I got into like Dogecoin on day one day, day two. Then I got into DeFi very early and then through NFTs, I actually got into NFTs through the Meme Protocol. So I wasn’t, I wasn’t the founder at the time, the founder of the meme protocol was Jordan Lyle. He’s really smart. He’s really great. He had this idea of instead of earning yield in the form of like governance token, just earning yield in the form of NFTs. So instead of like selling tokens, because what everyone was doing at the time was, they were just buying governance tokens to steak and then to farm and then they would dump.
David Cash: Right.
Silver Surfer: But then with NFTs, you could… If you didn’t get out in time, got wrecked. Everyone basically got wrecked. The whales just killed everyone. So then meme came out and it’s like you farm this but you don’t get wrecked. You have a cool image and a cool collectible card. I thought that was really cool. I wasn’t really into art at the time. I was collecting cards, these meme collectible cards. And then it turned into like collecting art on the platform. But then I started finding other artists and like the first artists and the first real NFT that I found that wasn’t collectible was Pak.
David Cash: Would you remember what year you bought that or what month-ish?
Silver Surfer: I don’t remember. It was very early. It was before the bull run for NFTs. I actually think meme actually started this bull run for NFTs and I don’t think it gets enough credit for that.
David Cash: I mean definitely a ton of the early NFTs were meme NFTs on ETH.
Silver Surfer: It brought all of the DeFi people into the NFT space and then all the DeFi founders like Andre Croney, Stani from Aave, and Hayden from Uniswap, they all talked about meme because they all had cards of themselves.
David Cash: Right.
Silver Surfer: It brought a lot of DeFi people into this space and I think that’s actually what kicked off the bull run and then nifty gateway went on a massive tear. Now we’re basically here with NFTs, but it’s still super early because like I think how the next generation or the current – how people will get into crypto is not through actual tokens. I think it’ll be through NFTs and I don’t think there’ll be like a bear market for NFTs because like there’s not enough people in NFTs and as bigger brands, bigger companies get in and they bring their communities –
David Cash: People are saying, this is the bear market, the bull hasn’t even started. We don’t have a couple of hundred-thousand people who are doing this.
Silver Surfer: A lot of people don’t understand that these Web2 companies or brands come in and they want to join and other people help them get in and bring and onboard their communities. Like it’s gonna be a massive, massive amount of demand for NFTs.
David Cash: I think we got the first taste of it with the whole Coinbase thing just happening, you know? And that’s already a crypto company. What if that happened with, I don’t know, Apple – when that inevitably happens right?
Silver Surfer: Or with Adidas doing a board apes yacht club and a bored apes yacht club is just like limited to 10K users, right? Imagine when maybe Adidas does a solo drop and they do their own collectibles or something.
David Cash: And now you’re already starting to see people doing like a hundred thousand unit drops… Like even, even like six months ago yeah. Doing a 100K unit drop would be completely unheard of who would, who would take it?
Silver Surfer: I think like from the matrix standpoint, a brand can do it. The only artist that really did like okay has the biggest fan base is Pak where I think his merch drop did like 36K.
He created this and this is why I like Pak because he likes to create interesting innovations within NFTs. He created an accounting feature for NFTs. So it would be one NFT. So like in your bank account you can say you have a hundred dollars. Right? In this NFT you can say, “oh, I bought a hundred like mass in this NFT.” It’s like an accounting feature. You can keep adding NFTs into this account and the number would go up. So it’s kind of like, I think, what he was trying to build, there was like an accounting feature within NFTs and then also like a game of war because there’s like, DAOs that are attacking each other and you can like kill other. It’s like a game of resources in war.
David Cash: It’s dope. I mean Pak takes things a whole other level – I’d actually love to. I mean, there’s, I definitely wanna talk about meme a little bit, but I feel like that’s very current. So maybe if you want, we can delve in a little bit around like – I know you started collecting Pak. But now you’re considered, I don’t know if you are, but Pak’s intern this term. How did that come about and maybe tell us a little bit about your relationship with that?
Silver Surfer: I like and respect Pak a lot. For me he’s the most important person in the NFT space, I want to learn from this person and tried to help as much as possible and build on top of what Pak’s doing. That’s why I’ve collected his work because he kind of understands not just NFTs, but really the metaverse and meta anything. He’s been in crypto for a very long time.
Me calling myself Pak’s intern, which I actually removed because I kind of like self crown myself that. I don’t know how Pak feels about it. So I actually removed it today.
David Cash: Today?
Silver Surfer: Yeah, I removed it today. The reason why I did that is that I believe I was probably one of his most vocal supporters. I think I’m one of his biggest collectors. To me, there’s no other creator artist in the space as important. So it’s like, “okay, I’m just gonna call myself this.”
If Pak came to me and said, “okay, you drop all your projects, come be my intern.” I would do it. There are very few people that I would like just drop everything for. Pak is this godlike character that knows everything and I would want to learn as much as I could from Pak.
David Cash: So Pak if for whatever reason you’re watching this, Chris is right here. He’s ready. He’s ready to come on board.
Silver Surfer: With meme, we’re also gonna be forking meme and creating because meme will be on L2 and L1. We’re gonna create something called “earn.” So meme has a meme token, earn will have the Ash token, which is Pak token. So it’s me trying to build on top of what I think is the most important person’s work. Him building Legos and me trying to build and support other things that other people can build on top of what I’m doing.
David Cash: I think it makes sense that you’re really into this because obviously meme on top of being, you know, having this whole NFT marketplace integration, it’s a protocol and there’s DeFi involved. It’s very much a DeFi project. So I feel like that’s probably also why you really appreciate Pak’s work. I’m curious if there’s a specific drop that he really loved the mechanism of or what he did or something that really attracted you to him?
Silver Surfer: There are a lot of drops. The first one, the one that I went pretty hard on was his creation drop. His algorithm remastered the creation of Adam by Michelangelo. Not a lot of people know that his algorithm actually remastered the painting. And so what happened was he split it into like like 300 chunks that collectors can go and kind of like decide, “okay, I want this portion of the creation to exist.” I basically painted in all of Adam because I was like he’s basically asking who is the creator of this NFT because he’s trying to collaborate with the collector. The collectors are just like paint in Microsoft Paint. You go in and so in the pixels it was kind of like that. as a collector, I was like, “okay, you know, he’s asking who’s the creator?” We have Adam on one side and God on the other side and it’s like, “Okay, I’m painting in Adam.” So it’s like I’m the creator of this NFT along with Pak.
David Cash: There are multiple layers –
Silver Surfer: That’s why it’s called like, you know, “the creation” and that’s why I went in and painted Adam because it’s like me acting as God painting in Adam. Then using Adam’s face for myself, for my avatar profile.
I feel like a lot of people don’t even understand some of Pak’s drops, but once you actually get into them and you see some, it’s funny, when you look at somebody’s collection if they didn’t understand the drop and you look at somebody’s collection if they did. A lot of people complained, they said, “oh, I could do that,” but they couldn’t. they didn’t have an algorithm to repaint and remaster the creation. And then also on the smart contract side, each individual NFT was actually an ERC20 as well. I could go on Uniswap and provide liquidity for those. I wouldn’t, but you could. So there were a lot of things behind the drop that people didn’t understand. And then on top of it, it was just like in our performance in a way.
David Cash: That also is like really preparing us for like the future of NFTs and staking NFTs and you know, having that already pre-built in. The smart contract is really forward-thinking. That’s awesome! I’m curious, you know, tying that into meme, what elements of Pak’s work inspires you and makes you want to do more within the NFT space and really the Defi NFT intersection in the space.
Silver Surfer: The best example of it would be the cube drop where you could basically burn the cubes for the Ash token. That was really cool. You burn something and you’re also in a way, you know, the collector.
David Cash: Destroy to create.
Silver Surfer: Yeah! And then the collector is also creating art in that sense. He basically took all of the destroyed cubes and then created carbon from the Ash, which was also interesting. It is like the Ash token and trying to create the balance of scarcity with his works through burning his artwork and having the collectors decide what exists and what doesn’t and then giving you a token in return. I thought that was very cool.
Also, I think that’s definitely like DeFi in some version because he’s like, “okay, you destroy this and you get a token in return.” Right? And it’s a way to create scarcity and destroy supply. I think it’s an interesting way that he did that.
David Cash: Totally! It’s really crazy. Some of the things that he does and, and people like you who really understand and go the extra mile to actually understand the drop.
Silver Surfer: I mean, there’s a lot that I don’t like. There’s a lot of mystery and a lot of things think only Pak understands. I think a lot of people don’t understand, even myself, everyone’s just figuring it out.
David Cash: Which is kind of fun too you know. I would love to hear a little bit of what you’re doing right now. Maybe some, some thoughts on what people can look forward to in terms of meme. If there’s anything else you’re working on.
Silver Surfer: The biggest thing is we’re doing a collectible drop February 25th called meme VIP – it’s 3,555 unique pineapples avatars that people can use on the website when they join and then to use for access to drops – whether it’s airdrops, exclusive drops, and like even some drops that we’re gonna have on the platform will be gated by these NFTs. You’d have to own a VIP to maybe get into some of these drops. It’s just a way to provide utility and give access to users. I’m super, super excited about that!
David Cash: Also very true to like the background of me, like where they used to do all the airdrops and like the newspapers and everything. It’s like bringing that back to like.
Silver Surfer: We really plan to like a reward for anyone who joins that drop. We want to create this exclusive experience and quantify who we are too loyal community members. Right? If you support us, we’ll make sure you get your reward in the end tenfold or more – a hundredfold. That’s the whole goal, trying to track who these loyal people are and giving them exclusive drops rights. They’ll also get like full IP – basically those specific characters too. It’s gonna be an interesting drop, a lot of collectible projects. They’re not really building utility or anything into it. We’re dropping this and we’re gonna use it on the platform.
We’re not going anywhere. We’re not creating another collectible drop. We’re dropping these, these avatars and we’re gonna keep adding value to it. It’ll be cool!
David Cash: Awesome! Well, definitely check that out! I’m really happy that we got a chance to do this. Thanks so much for taking the time. We’re gonna tag all of Chris’s links – Silver Surfer on Twitter. Really appreciate you taking the time to do this. Thanks again for joining us. As always we’re here for NFTS.WTF. My name’s David Cash. Appreciate everybody joining. Thanks again. Bye. From Denver.